In 2018, the Apple watch seems to be just as successful as the rest of the Apple line of products. However, the product definitely had a rocky beginning and was not as well received as one would believe. It was only through expert use of marketing management and technological design that brought the Apple watch back from the brink. Below, the steps Apple was required to take after their initial failure will be discussed.
Apple’s entrance into wearable technologies, specifically watches, was a bid to stregthen their brand.
The first Apple watch was launched in April 2015. It was an integration of fitness and health features with Apple’s mobile operating system (Eassa, 2018). After the introduction of the watch into the market, Apple’s chief executive officer acknowledged that the product had failed to make the market impact they had expected. Potential buyers kept away from the watch because they saw it as a luxury item rather than something that would benefit their daily lives.
Apple was required to design with innovations that would make their watches different from the rest of the market. Innovations that would help them break consumer resistance were to develop solid-state buttons and the integration of a new type of display technology.
Future generations of Apple watches would come with solid-state buttons that respond to the touch of a finger (Eassa, 2018). The solid-state button innovation made the watch waterproof, something that other watch brands did not offer which would help make the Apple Watch brand unique.
This button design would also be an innovation that would take less space and allow the new generation of Apple watches to have bigger batteries that would stay charged longer.
A new type of display technology known as MicroLED would replace the present OLED technology that has been in use since the very first Apple watch (Eassa, 2018). MicroLED brings improvements in brightness and texture when compared to the old display (Kluwer, 2018). This innovation would be important since design innovations alone are not enough to catch the attention of potential buyers.
In conclusion, Apple had to figure out what they could offer the consumers that other smart watchmakers were not at the. The organization had to work to show consumers that they needed their watches as an essential part of their lives and that it was not just a luxury. Ultimately, solid state button technology to make their watches waterproof and a new MicroLED screen technology to improve the Apple watch display were some of the design features Apple needed to help bring its product to the top of the market.
Due to the negative publicity, previous Apple watch designs had caused, the importance of propagation mechanisms in minimizing consumer resistance cannot be overstated. Developing a new design of Apple watch would only be beneficial if consumers with negative views of the product realize these groundbreaking improvements have been made (Kluwer, 2018). Propagation mechanisms, such as advertisements and improved customer care, play a vital role in breaking consumer resistance.
Advertisement would provide Apple the best chance to be honest about the previous products that had discredited them, while also informing potential buyers about crucial improvements in the new designs. Effective advertising would ensure that consumers who knew nothing about the Apple watch become informed while those consumers experienced with the brand would be reminded of the product’s new innovations. Creating credibility is a major step towards reducing resistance and honest advertising offers the proper platform to build that credibility (Eassa, 2018). Without constant updates, consumer resistance to a product translate to consumer rejection.
Improved customer care is a very important mechanism of propagation. Customers need to feel appreciated and that they are receiving a value for their investment (Kluwer, 2018). Customers are easily repulsed by poor responses about products; this is often viewed by the consumer as poor competency by the company. Improved customer care is comprised of the company not only offering guarantees but meeting them. For example, if Apple says that its watches are waterproof it should ensure that the watches are waterproof not just water-resistant.
In conclusion, propagation mechanisms that create credibility, clarity, and are informative go hand in hand with reducing consumer resistance. Advertising and improving consumer care would be the two major mechanisms Apple should focus on moving forward. Utilizing these mechanisms properly will insure not only new consumer attraction, but also revitalizing previous consumer bases.
The sales of the Apple Watch during its launch period did not meet the expectations of Apple executives and the product faced more resistance in the market than any other Apple product launched in the past. The consumer reactions to the launch of the product included resistance from even the most hardcore Apple enthusiasts in the world. Most of the target market do not see the need of a smart-watch that perform the same functions as their smartphone and viewed purchasing the equipment as an unnecessary luxury expense. With the increased portability and capabilities of the smartphone, most consumers did not see the need for wearable technology that had less capability to perform tasks than their smartphones.
In light of this reaction, Apple had the task to influence the consumers to see the need for wearable technology, especially among Apple enthusiasts; considering they comprised the highest source of sales for Apple technology (Jung et al., 2016). The process of influencing the consumers would have to be all-round effort involving all the departments in the company. The design team needed to rethink the Apple watch specifications that could be included in the smart-watch that would separate it from other gadgets in the market and the mobile phone. The marketing team would need to change their approach in order to reach the target market and compete with the existing, cheaper brands already occupying the market.
Apple consumers would have to be convinced why they needed to pay a premium for a product they felt had no additional benefits and was just an unnecessary expense. Apple needed to address the functionality barriers that were encountered with their new product, by increasing the functionality potential of the watch in daily lives. Apple also needed to address the psychological barrier by convincing the target population that wearable technology is crucial in their lives, especially in the information age. Ultimately, Apple must convince their audience that the Apple watch was as needed as the smartphone.
Active resistance to the Apple watch was a result of the consumers believing there was too much distance between the perceived attributes and functionality of the product and the value of the product. In this case, active resistance comes in the form of a usage barrier and a risk barrier. The Usage barrier is experienced by the product because it required consumers to change their behavior and their usage of mobile devices. This was experienced because consumers tended to favor the status quo, and thus an advantage must be presented to entice change. The risk barrier was experienced when the consumers questioned if the product would be as useful as advertised and if the high price tag attached to the product was worth the risk (Peter and Donnelly, p. 82-84).
Passive resistance is mostly driven by the need for customers to maintain the status quo. The Apple Watch faced this challenge because the company had to convince its customer base that the change in lifestyle to include wearable technology was crucial (Heidenreich & Kraemer, pp. 144-145, 2015). This resistance could be overcome by aggressive marketing by Apple and thus the need to access the right amount of marketing focused on the correct target audience was reiterated.
Research conducted on behavioral analysis suggests there is a huge diversity in reasoning for and against adopting innovations. This reasoning also has qualitative differences. The influence of this reasoning also affects consumers in very dissimilar ways. The implications of this for managers and theorists is extremely important and also very crucial for Apple senior management. They need to be discussing the various possibilities of consumer segments that arise with various forms of resistance (Claudy, Garcia & O’Driscoll, p. 528, 2015). Accurately developed marketing management can easily overcome the resistance to innovation, but only when utilized properly to the correct segments of the market.
Resistance to adoption is an active process that appears in every adoption process and has mainly been noted in the form of opposition, postponement, or outright rejection. When the Apple Watch was introduced there was a mixed reaction leading to the formation of three customer segments (Claudy, Garcia & O’Driscoll, p. 530, 2015). One customer segment rejected the watch immediately, the second group opposed it, and the rest had intentions to adopt the product in future. This variation in resistance created three other segments for the watch and this had important implications for Apple when going back over the design and analysis process. It was only by catering to these resistance segments the company could anticipate market acceptance for its product’s upcoming versions (Claudy, Garcia & O’Driscoll, p. 544, 2015). By understanding the reasoning for resistance in these market segments Apple stood a better chance of converting its indifferent target audience into successful buyers and adopters of its innovations.
The Apple Watch has traveled a tough path through the market. As reviewed, the product was very much a failure during its first launch—especially compared to all other Apple product launches in the past. Apple failed to do their homework the first time around and paid dearly for it. However, with the use of successful marketing management, Apple has been able to turn the wearable smart device market around and become a top contender in that market space.